If you are one of the many who believe the taxi industry is finished because of UberX, let me offer you one of my famous predictions: The days of Uber Australia are numbered, mark my words. No, it won’t be competition that will kill the beast, it will be its head office back in San Francisco, Uber Technologies, which will pull the plug once it realizes that its Australian operation will never make a sustainable profit, at least not without UberX, and that ol’ buddy, will sink as fast as it rose. Its corporate culture and business model makes that inevitable. UberX cannot survive in a well-regulated environment and regulated it will be, regardless of the current infatuation by some sections of the public and members of the political class.
Like millions of other Australians I am likely to have more trust in a Commonwealth Bank investment advisor than in our current crop of politicians or their advisors. My disdain for this class of people is expressed succinctly, I hope, in my third article on political morons. Have a look in “We are ruled by Morons 3” a sequel.
I don’t think it is any secret that our home-grown taxi apps, ingogo and goCatch, are feeling the pinch of Uber’s aggressive antics as much as the rest of the taxi industry. Each is addressing the challenges in their own way. If you are not using an app yet you are missing out on a lot of business. Get with it and make sure its only the Aussie taxi apps you download. They support OZ Cabbie and we support you. What goes around comes around. Should you be an Uber Taxi app user I suggest you rethink. The 20% of your takings retained by Uber goes to keep UberX alive. You are cutting your nose off to spite your face. More in Aussie taxi apps ingogo and goCatch betting on the end of Uber Australia.
If I’m sick of politicians I’m even more sick of the amount of bullshit Uber manages to get into the media, especially outrageous claims of its market growth, insurance cover and tax compliance, but most of all its hijacking of the term ‘ride-sharing’. One of the world’s largest news organizations, Associated Press, recently banned its journalists from using the term in relation to UberX and Lyft, telling them to refer to them as ride-hailing services. Other media, such as Al Jazeera America, have used Freedom of Information requests to get to the truth about some of Uber’s more outlandish claims. Uber’s response in each case has been to use its lawyers to block access on the grounds that the information, however basic, is ‘trade secrets’. Uber is fast eroding what little credibility it has left and I predict it fast reaching its ‘bullshit limit’ in Australia, which should soon see it regulated out of existence Downunder. With a bit of luck the Victorian Passenger Transport Minister Jacinta Allan who held her first Taxi and Hire Car Industry Ministerial Forum on 27 April (we were printing), and included the Victorian Taxi Association, the Victorian Taxi Families and Uber, will be the first politician to pull Uber into line. I am hopeful we will be able to bring you an inside report from the meeting in the May issue.
In this issue we have also published a ‘thought piece’ called “Resist Luddite Thinking” contributed by a taxi driver in Brisbane who asked to remain anonymous. Like most of the drivers who take the trouble to write to us he fears retribution. I truly wish drivers would have the courage not to write under a synonym.
In case you don’t know what a Luddite is, and I admit I didn’t, it is the derogatory term for a person opposed to any increased industrialization or new technology.
I don’t know about you, but it certainly doesn’t apply to me. I’m all for progress through innovation provided it is achieved by legal means and with fairness.
Well, that’s my take on life. What’s yours?